Showing articles associated with Alexis McGivern

Alexis McGivern is an MPhil candidate at the Department of Geography and an incoming MBA at the Saïd Business School (dual degree programme). She is a co-founder of 26,000 Climate Conversations – a new Oxford student-led initiative that seeks to build support for climate action through interpersonal conversations in the lead-up to the United Nations COP26 conference.

Alexis' research focuses on community resistance to incineration in the UK. The UK is increasingly relying on incinerators, otherwise known as energy from waste plants, to deal with waste. However, these are disproportionately sited in deprived areas and communities feel they have been ignored and betrayed in the limited process of consultation.

Outside of Oxford, she is part of the Plastic Pollution Emissions Working Group, an interdisciplinary group of researchers looking at plastic pollution in marine environments. The first phase of their research built a model to examine the flow of plastic pollution into the ocean and measure the impact of policy interventions on the level of plastic. Their second (current) phase looks at the positive and negative externalities of different interventions.

Why is Oxford a good place to work in research related to environmental challenges?

Oxford is a super stimulating place to study and work because there are so many researchers with a wide range of expertise that can give a different perspective on the problem you’re examining. Even more so than the range of expertise, it’s also an incredibly collaborative place, where everyone is willing to take the time to review your research and lend their thoughts. Finally, it’s a very well-connected institute where you can easily reach out to and work with professionals and other academics from other institutes.

What is the biggest environmental challenge facing the planet right now?

The biggest environmental challenge facing us is climate change, but even more, I believe that the challenge will be building a just world outside of the constraints of exploitative capitalism. The ecological crisis cannot be disentangled from our social crises: they are rooted in the same grossly unequal relationships whose origins can be traced back to the early days of colonisation. Until we can build a better, fairer society, we cannot address the roots of the climate crisis fully.

Despite the challenges, are you optimistic about our future?  

I believe that if we can build on the lessons learned in the pandemic about the value of collective action, and the importance of youth and community leadership over individualism, we can work to minimise the damage of climate change. If we give in to doom, or allow those who are in power to retain it, we won’t be able to beat these challenges.  

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